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You never know how a free bag of coffee can turn someone’s day around. Especially if they’re medical professionals working through the stress of a pandemic on top of their day jobs.

That’s what inspired our four Coffee Drops. We just wanted to spread some joy – while keeping our small business busy. We wanted to put positivity out there, and to invite people to put positivity out there.

To prepare for each of our Coffee Drops, Charlotteans bought a two-pound bag of coffee for a medical professional they knew or donated the $25 purchase to an anonymous professional, along with a note of encouragement.

On our side, we produced the coffee, bagged it, and hand-wrote each note. We shipped the specific orders. As for the anonymous donations?

That’s when we showed up unannounced at a local hospital during a shift change and set up a table. It felt uplifting, handing out these gifts of coffee and notes to nurses and doctors to thank them for their service. Each Coffee Drop was a mass delivery of up to 150 pounds of coffee that we knocked out in 15 minutes flat across Atrium Health Mercy, Atrium Health's Carolinas Medical Center and Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center.

During the final drop, Oatly and Pure Intentions Coffee donated some goods, while Le's Sandwiches sponsored cold brew for distribution.

Every time, said our owner, Tony Santoro, “We just did the same thing. Loaded the van, showed up, set up and made people smile.”

It actually all started when Tony listened to a New York Times podcast that highlighted an interview with an Italian doctor at the peak of the hospital overload abroad.

“His sadness and emotion was so real,” Tony said. “He had never seen anything like this in his career. I also have a friend who was struggling with the fear and stress of working in the hospital system, between what they were seeing firsthand and what they were hearing from the top down.”

It was a natural response, to want to spread some joy the way we know best – through coffee. And through the encouragement of others. It was inspiring to sift through all of the notes we received along with each donation.

Some of our favorites notes:

”To ______________ for being so caring, thoughtful & supportive of my mom when she was going through cancer. We really appreciate both of you!”

“Dr. ______, Thank you for all that you and your team has done for me the past 2 1/2 years. Here is some coffee to help during these uncertain times. Stay safe.”

“Dad, Thank you for everything you are doing to care for your patients right now. We love you, miss you and pray for you daily! Love, __________.” Our local hospital professionals deserved every word – and every coffee bean.

“We are just amazed at the bravery we saw in all of the people going into their shifts, and coming out of their shifts, each day,” Tony said. “We were also amazed at the way the community came around this project.”

But isn’t living generously – and for others – the best way to live?

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